Whatton is an ancient settlement, artefacts have been found on the border of Aslockton and Whatton indicating that there was a settlement in Whatton in the late iron-age. The actual settlement wasn’t found but is thought to be located under the A52. It is of interest that the ‘finds’ were dated up to the 1st century BC and did not extend into the Romano-British period (1st to 5th Century AD). Whilst evidence has yet to be found it is entirely probable that there was a Romano-British settlement in the parish.

Names used in the parish, supported by the Domesday record provide evidence of early Saxon and Danish settlement in the 5th to 11th Centuries. The English Place name Survey (‘EPNS’) of 1948 proposed that the name Whatton is a contraction of Wheat with the Saxon suffix of ton meaning farm or settlement. Unfortunately, the EPNS used the modern spelling, the actual 11th Century spelling was WATONE, the tone suffix is indeed Saxon, but the wa appears to be a contraction of the Danish for Water. The bridge which carried the Nottingham Grantham road over the Smite (at the start of what is now the Bye-pass) is called the Cocker Beck Bridge. Cocker Beck is a combination of Saxon and Danish meaning winding stream. The name of the river itself, the Smite is thought to be of Danish origin.

Whatton was in an area of England called. ‘Danelaw’ was part of the North Sea Empire which also included Norway, Denmark and part of Sweden. The other parts of England were Mercia and Wessex (West Saxons.) On the death of Edmund Ironside, England was unified under CNUT (aka Canute).

In the Danelaw area, Manors were called Sokes and Wapentakes were the equivalent of Saxon Hundreds. We know from the Domesday record that Whatton was held by Ulf Fenwick who was a ‘Jarg’ the Dane equivalent of the Saxon Earl.

The Soke of Whatton also had jurisdiction over the southern part of Aslockton and the majority of Hawkesworth and was part of the Bingham Wapentake.

Copyright 2014 – GR Redford all rights reserved.

Extract from the Doomsday Book
Early Settlement